On a trip to Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia in January 2000, filmmaker Anne Bass came across a 16 year old boy who moved her immensely with his amazing and seemingly natural charms and ... See full summary »
On a trip to Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia in January 2000, filmmaker Anne Bass came across a 16 year old boy who moved her immensely with his amazing and seemingly natural charms and grace as a dancer. Having been a longtime devotee to the world of dance herself back in the United States, Anne felt compelled to give this young boy the opportunity to leave his home and follow a dream that she felt he hadn't even yet seen for himself. From the serene countryside of Southeast Asia to the halls of the New York's School of American Ballet to the stage of the Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle, DANCING ACROSS BORDERS peeks behind the scenes into the world of dance and chronicles the intimate and triumphant story of a boy who was discovered, and who only much later discovered all that he had in himself. Written by
The Cambodian people are still suffering in the wake of the atrocities and inhumanities committed by the Khmer Rouge. An American filmmaker visits Cambodia and watches a folk dance performed by children in an ancient temple where she senses that one boy has "something special". After she leaves the country, she keeps recalling this boy and wonders if his natural talents might translate into ballet skills. She arranges for his travel to the U.S. and an audition.
This is the improbable yet true story of Sy (pronounced SEE), who leaves his native country with no real understanding of ballet, no understanding of what he is to encounter, and no use of the English language.
Dancing Across Borders is a documentary that shows the development of this dancer, who came to ballet so late, and his awakening to the possibilities of his new life. He trains with excellent teachers. He learns the discipline of ballet. And he is exposed to other cultures and the world at large as he travels to competitions.
In the end, Sy feels somewhat displaced--alienated from his family and the Cambodian experience. But he comes to love ballet and feels he is on the right path.
Anne Bass, the woman who discovered him and the director of this film provides a fairly unbiased look at the journey of Sy. The film lets us know that we do not witness all the bumps along the road Sy travels. On a more subtle level, this is a film about the mysterious spark that illuminates some few who are more than technicians, they are truly performers.
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